Thursday, November 18, 2010

First there was an exciting, interesting, scenic, warm, loving, poignant week and then there was a frightening, frustrating, blurry, chilling, discouraging week

What happened was my brother, Drago, and I traveled to Philadelphia to visit my other brother, Leon, his wife, Rae, their new home, their funny, stately, standard poodles, Ajax and Harry, and a bit into the week, go to the Moravian cemetery on Staten Island, New York, where Mom’s, Dad’s, and my brother Ric’s ashes are staying. We met our cousins, Simon and Cosette, at the cemetery and after some time there we went to an excellent Italian restaurant, La Strada, (real name) right there on New Dorp. Simon and Cosette are from different sides of our family, and had only met each other once before, in 2006, when they put my mother’s “cremains” (I didn’t know that word until last March, when Dad died. I don’t like it much. Just don’t.) in the wall, which sits on the highest hill on Staten Island, giving all the ashes and bones  a lovely view of the bay.  Lunches, dinners, a visit with Leon and Rae’s daughter and four month old grandson, playing with the poodles, taking walks around, admiring every single thing about Leon and Rae’s converted carriage house, the kind of Eastern/autumnal weather I miss most, seeing my cousins and helping them get to know each other, which for some reason I felt they already should have -like something got messed up there- all that was very, very fine. I didn’t fall or knock anything over and I think I did a good job of keeping up. Well, Drago was there to help me in the airports, and everyone toned down the outings for me, I think.

Then came a massive change in mood. Right after Drago and I got to the Philadelphia airport, to fly home to Panama City Beach in Florida, I started seeing spidery black things in my right eye. Not your regular floaters-these were seriously alarming. I didn’t say anything about it until after my brother and I got through security, then I told him I had almost no vision in one eye. (By that time, when I looked at what my eye could see, there were only light and dark blurs and possibly a billion little black dots.) We kept calm, probably for each other, and because we both badly wanted to get all the way home without a fuss.  I did indulge in great bursts of cursing, shouting, and bewailing my fate, but carefully kept all that to myself. By the next afternoon I’d seen three eye doctors, and the day after that, a Saturday, I had undergone eye surgery for two retinal tears and a retinal hole. I also looked uglier than I can ever remember looking as in a bloody eyeball, bruising, swelling, one helluva dark, crappy looking, eye. This second week of quiet terror has ended. I still can’t see, but my vision is supposed to come back, and I don’t look as scary. I’ve been told to keep my head down 45 minutes out of every hour, which, of course, I’m not at all good at. But Drago took me back to the eye surgeon yesterday, and the doctor was satisfied with my progress. Our cat and dog have been keeping me company when my brother is out, or in, for that matter, and although I bump into things, I’ve kept my balance almost all the time. (I did fall over an armchair.) I plan to cook tonight-but not chop. I’m not up to chopping.

I know this is a long blog entry, but I’ve been musing all week on the fantasticality of one week rolling right into such an utter mess. Remember the Vonnegut novel where he keeps saying “So it goes…”?  He really had something there, didn’t he?


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